Sky's second meeting with Fever is most-watched WNBA game in 23 years

A record 2.25 million viewers tuned in to CBS Sports’ broadcast of the Sky’s 91-83 loss to Indiana.

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Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark during an Indiana Fever–Chicago Sky WNBA basketball game

Angel Reese reacts after fouling Caitlin Clark during the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Emilee Chinn/Getty

Athletes and coaches love to say that rivalries are created in the media, and there’s some truth to that. However, the best rivalries are also grown by fans who show up and tune in — and the Sky’s 91-83 loss to the Fever on Sunday was evidence, with a record 2.25 million viewers on average watching CBS’ broadcast from Indianapolis.

It was the most-watched WNBA game on any network in 23 years, peaking at nearly 3 million viewers.

The second meeting between Sky rookie forward Angel Reese and Fever rookie guard Caitlin Clark undoubtedly fueled the record viewership. Need convincing? Iowa’s Elite Eight victory over LSU in the NCAA Tournament on April    1 — a rematch between Clark’s Hawkeyes and Reese’s Lady Tigers from the 2023 title game — drew 12.3 million viewers. It was the most-watched NCAA women’s basketball game on record until Iowa played UConn in the Final Four, drawing 14.2 million viewers.

Days later, the record was broken again when nearly 19 million viewers tuned in to watch South Carolina beat Clark and Iowa in the title game.

The first Sky-Fever meeting of the season — a 71-70 Sky loss on June 1 — sparked national debate after Sky guard Chennedy Carter hip-checked Clark as she waited for the ball to be inbounded. At the time, the foul was assessed as an away-from-the-play personal foul. However, the next day, the league upgraded it to a Flagrant 1.

The rematch Sunday saw another flagrant called, this time on Reese as she attempted to block Clark’s layup, catching her head instead of the ball. Fever fans booed Reese every time she stepped to the free-throw line. Reese blew kisses to them at one point.

The teams meet for a third time Sunday at Wintrust Arena.

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